Back in the USofA

Vero Beach, FL
Position: 27 39.257N, 080 22.280W
Posted by Bill

I forgot to mention in the last post, that when we arrived in Allans/Pensecola Cay, we passed the 5,000 nautical mile/5,754 statute mile mark since we left to go cruising 2 years ago. I am not sure how exciting that is for anyone but me, but it was a milestone for me.

On the 28th, we left Allans/Pensecola and stopped at Great Sale Cay, a great place to stage to go back to the States. The holding is great, there is lots of room for boats, and the protection from wind and seas are excellent, except from the south or west. We just hung on the boat, trying to relax for the 2 day trip back to Florida and getting the boat ready for offshore passage. One thing that was a must do was the prop shaft packing gland adjustment. We had been getting more than normal water levels in the bilge for awhile, nothing major, and it wasn’t getting worse, and I isolated the source to the packing gland, so I kept putting it off. It isn’t hard to adjust, but we have to take all of the stuff out of the aft berth, a.k.a. the garage, to get access to it…a major pain in the butt. The prop shaft packing gland is the point at which the propeller shaft goes through the back of the hull and into the engine compartment. There is an adjustment nut pushes packing material (goretex) tight around the shaft to keep the water from coming in. After time, due to wear, the nut needs to be adjusted to reduce the amount of water coming in. The water flow was getting worse the last couple of days, and I didn’t want an issue with it going across the ocean and Gulf Stream, so I bit the bullet while anchored at Great Sale. It is in a very tight space, and I had trouble getting my wrenches in there. Mark came over and helped, and we took care of business (thanks again Mark).

The next day we left Great Sale around noon and headed across the Little Bahama Bank to Memory Rock, a break in the reefs where the bank meets the Atlantic Ocean. The wind was so calm that the sea looked like glass. We were in 15 feet of water and you could see everything on the bottom in great detail:
The starfish in the last picture was probably about 6″ wide. It was mesmerizing to just sit and watch the water go by. I also saw a couple of large sea turtles and a dolphin that checked me out from underwater, then surfaced behind us. It helped pass the time. By dark we hit the Memory Rock cut in the reefs and headed into the ocean. We took a heading of about 270 degrees to compensate for the north flowing Gulf Stream current. There were several large cruise ships and a tanker that crossed our path through the night so we had to keep on our toes. The winds were low and the seas were 2-3 feet…not too bad! As we got into the stream and up until we hit Florida, the wave period got to be really short and it was uncomfortable, but certainly not anything like some of our passages where we had large waves and a nasty sea state. We hit the Fort Pierce inlet around 9:30 AM and motored up to Vero Beach, one of our favorite stops on the ICW. The trip lasted just over 24 hours and 135 nautical miles.

Yesterday, we took a walk to the beach and hit some bars for rum runners and such. We met up with our good friends Hayden and Radeen on Island Spirit at Waldos, for some drinks and great people watching! Today we took the bus to get liquor and groceries. It was nice to have such a great selection of food and drink, something we missed while in the Bahamas. Now we are doing laundry and looking forward to the hamburger special at Mr. Manatees tonight for dinner. Tomorrow we start the trip north. If we travel the ICW (intracoastal waterway) everyday without stopping, we can be in Southport in 11 days, but we will stay a few days at our favorite spots like St Augustine and Charleston. We expect to be in Southport within 3 weeks time. We hope you will continue to follow along!

One thought on “Back in the USofA

Leave a Reply or Subscribe